Kuhner on President Trump’s triumph: Art of the deal with Kim Jong-Un

Special to WorldTribune.com

Jeffrey T. Kuhner

President Trump is on a roll. His summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un in Singapore represented a significant diplomatic and geopolitical victory for the United States — and the world.

In fact, it was a masterful performance, a showcase of the art of the deal. During every step of the meeting, Trump was in control. He repeatedly outmaneuvered and outclassed Kim, from the summit’s optics to the historic handshake to the final agreement. It was a triumph in every sense.

‘Brilliant salesmanship at its absolute finest.’

Trump’s biggest success is that he gave up virtually nothing, while Kim — in theory — gave up everything. The two leaders agreed on paper that Pyongyang would completely, totally and irreversibly get rid of its nuclear weapons. Hence, Trump pinned Kim down and made him commit to dismantle his rogue nuclear program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have to work out the timeline and schedule for eliminating North Korea’s nuclear facilities, which will likely take several years (and several more high-profile meetings). But Trump managed to lock Kim into a diplomatic process where North Korea has lost all of its leverage: Little Rocket Man has agreed to get rid of his nukes. If he should backslide or renege on his promise, Pyongyang — not the U.S. — will be held responsible, guaranteeing the hermit Stalinist state will remain an international pariah.

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In exchange, all Kim got was a temporary suspension of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. That’s it; nothing else. No removal of U.S. troops or bases from South Korea. The American nuclear umbrella protecting Japan and South Korea remains intact.

Everything that was promised to Kim — economic modernization, the opening of McDonald’s franchises, the construction of swanky hotels and condos on North Korean beaches, increased trade and foreign investment — will come from the private sector. In other words, all Trump did was succeed in persuading Kim of the commercial and tourism benefits that will inevitably come from normalizing relations with America (and the world).

The catch, however, is this can only happen if Kim abandons his WMD program. It is brilliant salesmanship at its absolute finest. Trump bamboozled him — exposing the North Korean dictator’s immaturity and parochial nature.

Yet, the liberal media and Democrats are howling that Trump failed to “get enough.” They claim the deal neglects a wide range of issues — human rights abuses, democracy, the prevalence of slave labor camps, and the lack of specific details and a timeline for the elimination of North Korea’s nukes.

They are hypocrites, who consumed by their hatred for Trump are openly rooting for America to fail. They said nothing of the kind regarding Obama’s nuclear agreement. The 2015 Iran deal refused to address Teheran’s repressive regime, its vast network of torture cells and dungeons, and massive support for Islamic terrorism. Moreover, Obama’s deal guaranteed Iran’s path to the bomb within ten years (This is why Trump was right to tear the agreement apart).

There is also one other crucial difference: Unlike the Iran deal, Trump did not use bribery or secretive side agreements to get Kim’s consent. There was no shipment of nearly $2 billion in cash delivered on pallets. Over $150 billion in frozen assets were not released to be used to fund terrorism and enemies of America. And Kim’s murderous regime — unlike what Obama did for Iran’s mullahs — has not gotten clandestine access to our banking system.

In other words, the same liberals who championed the disgraceful Iran deal have no right to criticize Trump’s agreement with North Korea. If Obama had achieved the exact same thing with Kim, CNN and the New York Times would be demanding he receive another Nobel Peace Prize.

Instead, Trump is going to get what matters most: even more support from voters. His approval rating is already higher than either that of Reagan or Obama at this point in their presidencies. After 18 months in office, Trump is racking up an impressive string of successes — sweeping tax cuts, a booming economy, low unemployment (for blacks it is at a record low), a soaring stock market, rising wages for workers, reducing illegal immigration by over 75 percent, smashing ISIS, rescinding the Iran deal, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, rebuilding our hollowed-out military, repealing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, renegotiating NAFTA, protecting our vital steel industry by imposing tariffs, unleashing domestic oil and natural gas production, and appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Trump is on course to becoming one of the greatest leaders in U.S. history.

On North Korea, he has succeeded where three previous presidents failed — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama were unable to roll back Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Trump achieved this because he used a unique mix of threats, bombast, and maximum diplomatic and military pressure, along with charm, flattery and good old-fashioned salesmanship. In short, he succeeded — and is succeeding — because he’s a non-politician.

It is no wonder that all the anti-Trump Left has is rage, anger and fury. As Robert De Niro eloquently put it at the Tony Awards: “F*** Trump.” This is their pathetic clarion call. Trump is winning. And, deep down, liberals know it.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at WorldTribune.com and the host of “The Kuhner Report” weekdays 12-3 pm EST on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.

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